What You Must Also Know About Microjoys
Microjoys are different than happiness. Happiness, though appealing, is a fleeting outward expression of what we feel, while microjoys are internal. They are immediately attainable, intentional, and deliberate—transcending temporary circumstances to buoy us. With practice, microjoys become a way of living, an alternative to toxic positivity and the cynicism of the everyday. They teach us that all things are fleeting but we can still be grounded in what is possible, joyful, and true.
Microjoys exist because you, regardless of your current circumstance, deserve to touch joy often. Even in the moments when you lack the perspective to reach very far to access it. They are always accessible. They exist despite the calm or the chaos that surrounds us. And our consistent recognition of their daily existence offers us both the distraction and the focus that we need to find momentary respite in most situations.
The Unseen Wisdom of a Blank Canvas
There is no perfect recipe that will heal what breaks within us. But there is the well-worn knowledge that, with time, things will be okay nonetheless (whatever okay means for you). It doesn’t take away from what is true, it doesn’t make loss more bearable, it doesn’t immediately heal our brokenness. But with each decision made and tiny step taken, we find the wisdom buried underneath the tumult. And it may just help us to find our way out of the rubble and into the light, once again.
You may find that doing nothing is more difficult than you expect. Sure, it takes practice. The perception of wasting time feels counter to so many of our cultural beliefs. “Get busy living or get busy dying.” “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.” There are countless sayings that caution us against boredom, idleness, and doing nothing. The response is still: DO. MORE. NOTHING. Numbing ourselves with constant distractions does not equate to a life well lived—but perhaps creating space for deep rest and moments of quiet could.
Thoughtful gifts are tiny acts of kindness and generosity. They are not dictated by money (or lack thereof); they can be made, found, reused, or shared. In fact the author found some of her favorite gifts at thrift stores, antique shops, and—when she’s very lucky—even from the Dollar Spot at Target. Allow your gifts to be in the spirit of your thoughts and the impact is so much more meaningful than simply buying that one expensive thing just because.
The Pleasure in All Things
Life is absurd and overwhelming and mysterious and funny and thrilling and sad. Keeping a list of delights is a lovely reminder that the world is still a beautiful place. The author finds that this list is especially helpful for those moments when life feels inside out, upside down, or just plain awful.
Busy Being Busy
When you’re struggling, gift yourself the temporary respite that comes from activity. Talk to strangers or work on small projects that offer you ease and allow your mind to wander. This wandering is not a permanent state but instead a momentary window for you to exist in peacefully within the storm. And remind yourself that—whenever it is meant to—the storm will pass.
When Gratitude Is Enough
Consider how you move through difficult times (difficult doesn’t have to mean the hardest things). What habits are you continuing to nurture that may not serve you anymore? What actions are you taking that you may be better served to leave behind, even temporarily? What small grace do you need to extend to yourself instead? You don’t always have to be all things to everyone, including to yourself.
What do you know to be true in good times and bad? What evidence do you have that led you to this inner knowledge? Hold on to that. (If it’s helpful, write it down and keep it close.) Whenever you need a beacon to help guide you to the other side of whatever you are moving through, come back to these truths. Hold tight to them and they will guide you forward forever.
Friendship Just in Time
Friends become our mirrors and show us who we truly are; they are also our memory keepers as life flows and we forget the moments that made us. When we are lucky enough to have them, friendships that shift and grow with time are soul-fueling. So whenever possible, show kindness, assume love, and forgive most things.
So Many Feelings
In a world that asks us to be quiet—to push down our feelings—to make others more comfortable, there is bravery in acknowledging the fullness of what we feel. Though you may not know it at this particular moment, it is the author’s experience that our honest acknowledgment is permission-granting and confidence-building to the people around us.
You may not need to walk right now. And even if you do, your version of walking and mine may be very different. If you feel compelled to slow down and go inward for a time, in whatever way makes sense for your situation, do that. But maybe you’ve been walking long enough and you’re ready to slowly jog, or hell, even run. If that is true for you, then take steps to pick up your own pace. Either way, be mindful of when and how you may be “keeping up with Joneses” and forgetting to keep pace with yourself.
Microjoys teach us that life is all things and despite it all, there is always joy to be discovered. Hope to be had. Laughter to heal us. Wonderment to temporarily consume our worries. Memories to make. Moments to notice. We now know that we deserve to experience the respite of joy, even on the fringes of the hardest things.
We may experience the depth of despair and sadness, but also the height of astonishing happiness. We will grieve, we may lose hope, and there could be moments when we feel that this big beautiful life of ours is simply too much to bear. It is not. We can go on, one foot in front of the other, until we recognize that we are deserving of joy once again. And when that moment appears, we will continue our pursuit of microjoys and begin to rediscover whatever beauty awaits us. Beauty will await us the moment we allow ourselves to bear witness to it.